Should Restaurants be Required to Post Calorie Counts – No

Several restaurants have begun to post calorie counts on foods they serve. This may be one method to raise awareness in America that the rising obesity rates are due, in part, to high-calorie foods regularly eaten in fast-food restaurants. Most people are knowledgeable enough about food to realize that an extra-large cheeseburger with bacon and all the trimmings has more calories than a small garden salad with vinaigrette dressing. Individuals may not know the exact calorie count of every item they eat, but they do know that eating fried chicken, macaroni with cheese, creamed potatoes with gravy and two yeast rolls every day for lunch is unhealthy and has many calories.

The Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA) will require chain restaurants to begin posting calorie counts for all food sold to customers sometime in 2013. Because movie theatres complained, they will be exempt from posting calories. All businesses should band together to resist the imposed mandate by the government.

The responsibility for eating healthy lies with the individual, not the restaurants. Eating out is a choice for the majority. It is their responsibility to learn which foods have high caloric value and which ones have far fewer calories per serving. Even in restaurants and fast-food establishments that do not post the number of calories per item, the average person knows enough about food and calories to make the right choices for themselves and their families. They choose to eat certain foods higher in calories on occasion and not as a regular habit. The average American family eats the majority of their meals at home, with dining out being a treat, usually for a special occasion.

It is not, and has never been, the responsibility of a business establishment to police the habits of their customers. Requiring restaurants to post the calories of every item they sell could cause embarrassment when a person chooses to order a milkshake as an occasional treat, with calories posted as 600, while their friends order diet sodas with zero calories. People become self-conscious and are made to feel ashamed for ordering what they want.

People who are obese due to very unhealthy food choices are not going to change their habits because the local burger joint begins to post the 1,100 calories of their House burger. Seeing the high caloric value of particular food items has rarely, if ever, caused a person to switch from chili-cheese fries to a serving of green beans. People usually order foods they don’t regularly eat at home. After all, eating out is usually a rare occasion.

Seeing the calories posted in black and white may actually prompt a person to switch from fried chicken to baked chicken, but generally speaking, a person who wants fried chicken will order fried chicken.

America is swiftly sliding into a nanny state. The government feels it must intervene in every aspect of a citizen’s life. If the government truly believes its citizens are not capable of making wise decisions for themselves and their families, maybe it is time to overhaul the educational systems.

In the end, what purpose does it serve to require a restaurant to post the number of calories in one serving of fries when it actually serves the customer what amounts to two servings, but does not point this fact out to the customer? Everything is super-sized. Over the years, the amount in one serving has increased to nearly double the amount. Perhaps it would be more beneficial to post the fact that one regular cheeseburger is not one serving, but two.

It is past time for Americans to become responsible for the choices they make in life. It is the responsibility of each individual to inform himself on every issue that impacts his life. Leaving it up to an organization, business or government is giving them control over personal decisions. If restaurants are required to post calorie counts, will grocery stores soon have to list the number of calories in the meat they sell per serving for every imaginable way of preparing it? Imagine listing the number of calories per serving of chicken based on how it is cooked, if it is served with gravy or a sauce, or dipped in ranch dressing.

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